Tesla S battery pack (Tesla)

Tesla won't say so itself, but its much-discussed mainstream electric Model 3 appears to be powered by a battery about 11% smaller than the tiniest offered for its showcase luxury Model S, according to researchers who have gone to work figuring it out.

Vital news for battery fanatics: At a time researchers around the world are attempting to discover a breakthrough super-battery to bring electric cars to the masses, there is unusual interest in every detail about the $35,000 Model 3, which was launched July 28.

It's not clear why Tesla and CEO Elon Musk have been all-but silent about the battery, the car's most important spec, given that they have released at least bare-bones detail as a matter of course about its other vehicles. Tesla did not respond to emails from Axios about the battery.

But Venkat Viswanathan, a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University, said the car's 220-mile version appears to be powered by a 53.5 kWh battery, just smaller than the 60 kWh version in the smallest Model S battery. The Model 3's longer-range 310-mile version appears to have a 79 kWh battery. His findings — based on the general characteristics of the Model 3 that Tesla has released — generally jibe with estimates by some Tesla observers.

Update: Tesla's EPA certification, published today at Electrek, shows that Viswanathan's team estimate was spot on.

A surprise about the Model 3: "One really interesting point is that Model 3 has among the lowest drag coefficients of all passenger sedans, let alone in this price range," Viswanathan tells Axios. The drag coefficient — how easily the car can move through the wind — is measured at 0.23, compared with .24 for the Model S, which already had among the lowest.

Why it matters: The low drag coefficient means the car gets more energy out of a relatively small battery. And the smaller battery reduces the weight and price of the car, which is Musk's goal in attempting to create a big-selling mainstream electric.

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Scoop: Don Jr. plans convention-week Biden book

Cover via Don Jr.

Donald Trump Jr., in quarantine since girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle tested positive for the coronavirus, says he's used the time to finish a book that he'll self-publish the week of the Republican convention, at the end of August.

What he's saying: Don Jr., whose controversial blasts connect with President Trump's base, told me in a phone interview that "Liberal Privilege" will be his effort to paint a picture of Joe Biden and his record that the press ignores.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Romney calls Stone commutation "historic corruption"

Sen. Mitt Romney. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Saturday tweeted a scathing response to President Trump's Friday night commutation of former associate Roger Stone's prison sentence, calling the move "[u]nprecedented, historic corruption."

Why it matters: Romney has emerged as the party's most prominent Trump critic. He sent shockwaves through Washington after announcing he would vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial — becoming the only Senate Republican to break ranks and vote for the president's removal from office. Now he is the first major GOP lawmaker to condemn Trump's Friday night call regarding Stone.